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Mary is an ordinary young girl stuck in the country with her Great-Aunt Charlotte and seemingly no adventures or friends in sight. She follows a mysterious cat into the nearby forest, where she discovers an old broomstick and the strange Fly-by-Night flower, a rare plant that blossoms only once every seven years and only in that forest. Together the flower and the broomstick whisk Mary above the clouds and far away to Endor College - a school of magic run by headmistress Madam Mumblechook and the brilliant Doctor Dee. But there are terrible things happening at the school, and, when Mary tells a lie, she must risk her life to try to set things right. Based on Mary Stewart's 1971 classic children's book "The Little Broomstick", "Mary and The Witch'sFlower" is an action-packed film full of jaw-dropping imaginative worlds, ingenious characters, and the stirring, heartfelt story of a young girl trying to find a place in the world. Featuring the voices of Ruby Barnhill and Academy ...
A nice first offering from the relatively new animation studio and features some truly beautiful animation
Mary and The Witch'sFlower is the debut anime film from Studio Ponoc and directed by former Studio Ghibli animator Hiromasa Yonebayashi (The Secret World of Arrietty, When Marnie Was There). Based on the novel "The Little Broomstick" by Mary Stewart, it is a nice first offering from the relatively new animation studio and features some truly beautiful animation.
On her Great Aunt's estate, young Mary Smith (voiced by Ruby Barnhill) lives a bored existence as she tries to pass the time before her parents join her. One day, while venturing out in the nearby woods, Mary stumbles upon a mysterious blue flower, believed to have been used by witches for their magical powers.
Naturally, the film has taken some strong influences from its Ghibli roots, particularly that of Howl's Moving Castle and Kiki's Delivery Service, but also from the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, with its overall magical tone and setting. The story does unfortunately play it safe one too many times, especially during the final act, and this does affect the overall enjoyment at times, whether this is how things are in the original novel I am unsure. Needless to say though, the animation is simply gorgeous and is up there with some of Studio Ghibli's best films. The attention-to-detail on every frame is exquisite and the use of colour makes the film great to look at. The performances of the English dub cast is solid, particularly that of newcomer Ruby Barnhill (Disney's The BFG) as the title character. However, as likeable a protagonist Mary is, her character seemed somewhat generic from a storytelling perspective and most of the supporting cast felt underdeveloped and one-dimensional. I have yet to see the original Japanese dub but I plan to do so in the not-too-distant future.
I rate it 7.5/10
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